Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Letter To Rep. Rush

Dear Representative Rush:

I am writing to urgently request that you and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce immediately hold a hearing to consider technical amendments to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (also known as CPSIA or HR 4040) which you sponsored last year.

I and many other women and minority business owners like myself have grave concerns about the effect this law will have on our businesses. Many of us will be put out of business in the middle of a recession. Certainly you are sensitive to how other laws such as NTIA affect women- and minority-owned businesses. Why are you then insensitive to how CPSIA affects them? Tiny home-based businesses that sell children’s goods are highly disproportionately owned and operated and staffed by women, some of whom can get no other jobs because of disabilities or their children’s disabilities which stand in the way of employment at regular jobs. CPSIA as written would turn those women out into a job market that is unable to accommodate their need for flexible schedules.

I know that I personally would be unable to go back to work in my previous field (I was an adjunct professor of mathematics at a community college) because of my fibromyalgia and my need to flexibly accommodate my two boys with Asperger’s Syndrome (a form of autism) and my two children with multiple food allergies. We are not eligible for state or federal benefits to help with these costs. My income is needed to pay for the expensive special foods my children need to eat, which are not covered by even the most gold-plated medical insurance. I am not asking for any federal handout. I want to work for the money I earn. I just need to do it my way, not your way.

I have read the letter that you and Representative Waxman published, asking the CPSC to exempt books and apparel and other items which evidently you did not intend the CPSIA law to cover. May I suggest that if you didn’t intend CPSIA to cover those items, it would have been better to exempt them as part of the law? It is not too late for you to change CPSIA to better reflect what you really wanted.

I would also like to let you know that I am personally offended by the suggestion that all us small businesses and libraries ignore CPSIA because it was not intended to apply to us. Unlike you, we have respect for the ancient tradition of the rule of law. We believe that the law should be followed as written, regardless of how stupidly it was written. Your suggestion that we all just ignore it is a slap in the face of the history of progress in government. It was the rule of law that banned slavery in this country. It was the rule of law that allowed Black people to vote. It is the rule of law that makes you a Congressman and not just a middle-aged guy with pretensions to power. It will be a sad day indeed for our country when our citizens feel empowered to decide for themselves which laws they will and will not be subject to.


Wacky B. Hermit